Skip to main content

Death and the Smell of Jesus (6) - other ways of responding

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

1. Some mishear and think that the message was “try hard and do good”

That is death to everyone. DIY religion is a joke – as if we could do it ourselves and please God. That’s evil. It’s not Christianity. And I hate it. If that’s what you think you heard, you’ve not caught the scent – sniff again!

2. Others haven’t misheard or been indifferent. You’re incensed by this. You fume at it.

To you this really is like water. Water poured on the hot oil of your heart. You heard every word and you are reviled: You mock at the idea that Jesus fulfilled prophecies. You scorn the prospect of a final judgement. You find the idea of a man dying on a Roman cross to save you ridiculous. And celebrating association with that seems outrageous. And you say, even if it were true, you’d rather try to save yourself. Some disbelieve because, missing the scent, they say he could never save someone as bad as them. That is not most people in Exeter.

We do not live in a city that is broken by a deep awareness of it’s own sinfulness. People are not weeping on the streets. People do not default to presuming that hell is waiting for them. We have a bigger problem – we live in an age where we think we deserve heaven, where it’s our right to have that. We could not be more deceived. Deceived or not: Jesus is our judge.

Please don’t march confidently towards your impending death. However respectable and decent, we all deserve to perish. I almost killed myself crossing the road the other day, because I ignored the warnings of danger… designed to stop me. Starting with the red man shining in my face. Jesus warns us.

Blaise Pascal said: 'Between heaven and hell is only this life, which is the most fragile thing in the world.'

This is serious. Even now, hear Jesus, smell the coffee.

3. Some hear and respond with apathy. You’re unmoved. You don’t see what all the fuss is about. You’re indifferent.

If I introduce you to my wife and you’re indifferent to her I will be offended. Apathy and anger are both rebellion against Jesus.

Others, lastly, would never have called yourself Christians before today and yet you find yourself strangely moved by what you’ve heard about Jesus.

Not because the preacher was eloquent, but because you find yourself inescapably captivated with the big words about Jesus. If you’ve caught something of the sweet fragrance of Jesus and his death. That was my experience 11 years ago. Believe what you’ve heard. Become a Christian. Join the church – a people where life is about Jesus and death is being with him forever.


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…